The number of people claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has fallen to just under 206,000 - down almost 12,000 from over 217,000 a week ago.
That is according to the latest figures from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
This week, 205,593 people will receive PUP payments, a reduction of 11,549 compared to last week when the total was 217,142.
However, there was a sharp rise in the number of claimants in Donegal - the only county apart from Dublin to be subjected to Level 3 restrictions.
In Donegal, where the number of claimants peaked in May at 22,700, last week there were 5,949 PUP recipients.
However, over the last seven days, that figure rose by a third to 7,946.
7,298 people closed their PUP claims over the last 7 days, with 4,969 reporting that they were returning to work.
However, a further 4,645 individuals had their payments stopped because they had failed to confirm their continuing eligibility to receive the payment. Those affected by this can contact the Department's helpline on 1890 800 024 for help.
Construction was the sector with the greatest drop in the number of PUP claimants - with 15,170 people receiving a payment, down 1,743 on last week.
The sector with the highest number of people claiming PUP is Accommodation and Food Service Activities, where 51,286 people are dependent on the payment.
In second place is Wholesale/Retail Trade (29,353) followed by Administrative and Support Service activities (22,129).
3,378 claimants will receive their final payment tomorrow.
In addition to those claiming PUP, at the end of September, a further 211,492 people were on the Live Register and receiving Jobseeker's Benefit.
Between the Live Register and the Pandemic Payment, a total of 417,085 people are totally reliant on the state for their income.
Of those receiving the PUP, 121,621 are receiving the €300 rate, 36,072 are entitled to the €250 rate, with 47,900 receiving the lowest rate of €203.
However, those rates will be gradually tapered downwards between now and the end of March to align with the Jobseeker's Benefit rate of €203.
Since the pandemic began, 69,266 have now been medically certified to receive the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit, with 2,028 currently receiving the payment.
The Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphrey noted that because additional restrictions had been a possibility, the Government had kept PUP open for new entrants until the end of this year.
She urged anyone impacted by new restrictions introduced today to avail of PUP via MyWelfare.ie.
The largest number of people returning to work is in the 35-44 age group, followed by those aged 25-34.